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Coordinates: 51°31′3.57″N 0°5′32.03″W / 51.5176583°N 0.0922306°W / 51.5176583; -0.0922306

St Alphage London Wall
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Roman Catholic, Anglican

St Alphage London Wall,[1] so called because it sat right on London Wall, the City of London boundary,[2] was a church in Bassishaw Ward in the City of London.

There were in fact two churches, used in succession to one another.

The first church was built adjoining the London Wall, with the wall forming its northern side.[3] The churchyard lay to the north of the wall.[4] The earliest mention of this church dates to c. 1108-25, though it is said that it was established before 1068.[5]. The church was closed by Act of Parliament at the end of the sixteenth century and demolished.[6]. The London Wall was left standing. The site of the church became a carpenter's yard. In 1837 it was laid out as a public garden, which remains today, with a preserved section of the London Wall on its north edge. After the realignment of the road London Wall, that section formerly running past the site of this church was renamed St Alphage Gardens.

The churchyard to the north of the London Wall was still open in 1677, but was subsequently built over.[7] The last building on the site, using the London wall as its southern boundary, was destroyed by bombing in the Second World War.[8] This exposed the Roman city wall that the medieval wall had been built on. When a new Salters' Hall was built on the site (opened in 1976),[9], the area north of the London Wall was made into a garden for the Hall.

The second church began as the Priory Church the (probably Benedictine) nunnery of St Mary-within-Cripplegate.[10] This was probably founded before 1000, but by 1329 the community had fallen into decay. The land passed into the hands of William Elsing, who founded a hospital on the site, Elsing Spital, in 1331. Originally a secular establishment, it was taken over by Augustinian priors and monks in 1340.[11] The hospital closed in 1536, with the Dissolution of the Monasteries.

After the closure of the original Church of St Alphage, the Priory Church became the new Parish Church. The rest of the Spital site was sold to Sir John Williams, who built a private house in its grounds, which was destroyed by fired in 1541.[12] The property was subsequently sold on, and used for the foundation of Sion College in 1630. The church was repaired in 1624, and the upper part of the steeple rebuilt in 1649. It was damaged but not destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666.[13].

Further repairs were made in 1684, and 1701. By 1747, the building was dilapidated, and had to be taken down and re-erected. It was substantially rebuilt in 1774-1777.[14] Remains of the fourteenth century crossing tower were preserved in the rebuilt tower and porch. By 1900, the tower and porch were again in a poor state,[15] and a new porch was built in 1914.

The church was damaged in an air raid in the First World War. In 1917 the Parish was amalgamated with that of St Mary Aldermanbury.[16] The church was rebuilt in 1919, but was scheduled for demolition in the same year.[17]. The bells went to St Peter’s Acton.[18] Demolition was carried out in 1923, leaving only the tower and porch.

The remains of the church were designated a Grade II listed structure on 4 January 1950.[19] The tower and porch were still standing in 1959.[20] They were demolished by 1962, to make way for the new alignment of the road London Wall. All that remains are the surviving parts of the fourteenth century priory. These consist of the ruin of a central tower, built of flint and rubble masonry, with arches on three sides and the south wall missing.

It is sometimes assumed that the ruined tower and the gardens were originally part of the same building. This is not the case.

For illustrations of the church in its various phases, see http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/collage/app?service=external/SearchResults&sp=Zst+Alphage

In 1954 the amalgamated parish was united with St Giles-without-Cripplegate.[21]

References

  1. ^ Overview of its history
  2. ^ 'London:The City Churches Pevsner,N/Bradley,N: New Haven, Yale University Press, 1998 ISBN 0300096550
  3. ^ The London Wall Walk Chapman, Hugh, Hall, Jenny, & Marsh, Geoffrey: London, The Museum of London 1985
  4. ^ http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63002#s3[1]
  5. ^ http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=63002#s4[2]
  6. ^ The date may be 1590: [3]
  7. ^ For an illustration of the building on the site in 1920 see [4]
  8. ^ For an image of the site in 1942, see [5]
  9. ^ http://www.salters.co.uk/company/histhall.html[6]
  10. ^ http://www.monasticmatrix.org/monasticon/?function=detail&id=1003[7]
  11. ^ http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=35375[8]
  12. ^ Sion College and Library, Pearce. E.H.
  13. ^ Vanished churches of the City of London Huelin, G.: London, Guildhall Library Publishing 1996 ISBN 0900422424
  14. ^ History of St Alphage, London Wall and Elsynge Priory Nash, G: Beverley, Wright and Hoggard, 1914. For an illustration of the east front, see [9]
  15. ^ For an illustration of the state of the tower c. 1900, see [10]
  16. ^ Church of England, Parish of St. Mary Aldermanbury. - Papers relating to the amalgamation of the parishes of St Mary Aldermanbury, 1893. - M0001898CL cited in City of London Parish Registers Guide 4 Hallows,A.(Ed): London, Guildhall Library Research, 1974 ISBN 0900422300
  17. ^ History of the Church and Parish of St Alphage, London Wall Carter, P.C: London, W.H & L Collingridge,1925
  18. ^ The Times, Thursday, Jul 24, 1919; pg. 7; Issue 42160; col D
  19. ^ Images of England — details from listed building database (199595) accessed 24 January 2009
  20. ^ http://collage.cityoflondon.gov.uk/collage/app?service=external/Item&sp=Zst+Alphage&sp=32846&sp=X[11]
  21. ^ http://www.combs-families.org/combs/records/england/lnd/stalphagelondonwall.htm[12]

External links

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